Golf Buzz

October 4, 2013 - 7:37pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Davis Love III and Sammy the Squirrel at the Presidents Cup
Davis Love III via Twitter
Davis Love III took to Twitter Friday to show us that he put Sammy the Squirrel in a tree at Muirfield Village. Sammy, however, didn't stay there for long.

Sammy the Squirrel stole the show on Thursday at the Presidents Cup, and on Friday it became evident that he didn't want to give up the spotlight.

As we all know by now, U.S. Assistant Captain Davis Love III found the baby squirrel on the second hole at Muirfield Village, and the little guy quickly decided to spend the whole day with Love. The two traveled all over the course together, with Sammy nestled contentedly in Love's lap or pocket. He even spent a little quality time with several team members and their wives and girlfriends – it was Steve Stricker's wife Nicki who named him – as the U.S. team took the first-day lead.

VIDEO: See Davis Love III with Sammy the Squirrel
STORY: Read all about Davis Love III with Sammy the Squirrel

On Friday morning, Love put Sammy back in a tree at Muirfield Village. The only problem was, Sammy wasn't so eager to go – he quickly jumped onto the shoulder of a TV cameraman. 

Enough was enough, though. Love said that Sammy eventually was taken to a wildlife shelter where, hopefully, they'll keep the Presidents Cup on TV so he can see if his new friends on the U.S. team can finish what he started.


October 4, 2013 - 11:54am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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In case you missed it on Thursday, Davis Love III -- past U.S. Ryder Cup Captain and current U.S. Presidents Cup Assistant Captain to Fred Couples -- befriended a baby squirrel during the first session of the Presidents Cup at Muirfield Village. 
Love named the squirrel, "Sammy."
Sammy spent much of the day just nonchalantly hanging out on Love's lap in a golf cart.
Lindsey Vonn, Olympic champion skier and girlfriend of Tiger Woods, fell in love with Sammy. She sent out this tweet Friday morning with a message to Love:
So, it looks like the U.S. team has it's own, real-life mascot.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.
October 3, 2013 - 11:03am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Jordan Spieth at the Presidents Cup
Getty Images
What's the deal with Jordan Spieth at the Presidents Cup? Both Ryder Cup captains want to know.

Neither U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Watson nor European Captain Paul McGinley are at the Presidents Cup this week, but both are interested observers nonetheless.

"I have [assistant captain] Andy North there all week," Watson told the British news service PA Sport. "He has been around these players a lot more than I have and he will be my eyes and ears. I don't think it's my place to be there. I will be watching with great interest to see who is playing with whom.

SCOREBOARD: Follow the Presidents Cup leaderboard

"Right now," Watson added, "I don't have any teams that I've already made up in my mind about who is going to play with whom (at Gleneagles)."

McGinley, meanwhile, is at the Seve Trophy – an intraquad match of sorts on the European Tour, which pits a team from Great Britain and Ireland led by Sam Torrance against a squad from Continental Europe led by Jose Maria Olazabal in a Ryder Cup-style event. But he plans on catching the Presidents Cup on TV after the Seve Trophy wraps up each day.

"A big mark in the sand for me is the Presidents Cup," McGinley said. "It has served the Americans particularly well in terms of forming partnerships. … It will be interesting to see what is done with Jordan Spieth, what he will do with Tiger (Woods)."

You can follow the Presidents Cup action along with us right here, and catch up on all the latest Ryder Cup happenings right here.

October 3, 2013 - 10:24am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Cleveland wedge, Odyssey putter
Cleveland Golf (l) and Mike Soroka (r)
The Cleveland wedge on the left was made for Keegan Bradley, the Odyssey putter on the right for Will Wilcox.

A couple of players are the proud owners of some special clubs these days, and I thought you'd like to see them.

On the left in the image above is a 54-degree wedge that Cleveland Golf made for Keegan Bradley to commemorate his Presidents Cup debut this week. Instead of the usual stamping on the back, it's got a map of the world like you’d see on a globe, and the white-on-black color scheme makes this about the coolest design I've ever seen on a wedge. Kudos to the craftsmen at Cleveland for that bit of work.

On the right is a gold-plated putter that Odyssey Golf created for Will Wilcox as a salute to the 59 he shot in the Utah Championship a few weeks ago. Lots of players receive special commemorative clubs to mark their big achievements – Ping is well-known for its expansive vault full of gold putters for wins by tour players – but this White Rize V-Line model is somewhat unusual in the United States and it looks especially pretty in the photo.

Thanks to Cleveland Golf and Mike Soroka of Odyssey Golf for sharing.


October 2, 2013 - 10:37am
Posted by:
John Holmes
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Ping S55 iron
Courtesy of Ping Golf
The Ping S55 irons feature a compact head made of 17-4 stainless steel head with tungsten toe weighting to help improve stability and a vertical stabilizing bar for distance control.

Ping staff professionals like Bubba Watson and Hunter Mahan have won more than 30 events worldwide using the company's S56 irons, so it's no surprise that Ping didn't feel the need to completely overhaul them. Instead, Ping went for small but significant upgrades in its new S55 line to make the irons more workable and forgiving.

''We're motivated by pushing innovation, and we were able to elevate performance with the S55 in key areas,'' said Ping chairman and CEO John Solheim. ''Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Ángel Cabrera are some of the players who switched right away, and validation from the game's best players tells us that we got it right.'' 

Watson, in fact, has switched to the S55 after playing the same model of irons since 2004.

''They're able to work the ball more easily and flight it up and down like never before,'' Solheim said of his Ping staff players, adding that they're also getting more distance with the S55s.

The compact 17-4 stainless steel head features tungsten toe weighting to help improve the club's stability, and includes a vertical stabilizing bar for distance control. The face is thinner than on the S56s, which helps to provide more ball speed, and the face, grooves and back cavity are precision-machined for consistency.

Behind the face, the custom tuning port – which is made of a thermoplastic elastomer to soften the sound and feel upon impact – is larger and sits lower in the back cavity, which positions the Center of Gravity lower and deeper in the head to promote a higher launch with greater energy transfer. And the head is completed with a brushed satin-chrome finish.

The new S55s – from 3-iron through pitching wedge – can be ordered now, and will be available at retail in November. They carry a suggested retail price of $138.75 per club with steel shafts and $166.25 per club with graphite shafts. The stock steel shaft is Ping's CFS, while the stock graphite shaft is the Ping TFC 189i.


October 2, 2013 - 7:42am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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You might not realize it, but there’s a good chance you own at least one hat -- if not several -- from a brand known as Imperial Headwear.
Imperial, you see, has been a leader in the headwear industry since the company started nearly 100 years ago, in 1916. Imperial began as a dress cap manufacturer in Denver, Colo., and then uniform headwear, and even military hats.
“The reason Imperial is here today is because it has pioneered the sports headwear industry and found a very nice niche in golf,” said David Shaffer, Director of Marketing for Imperial Headwear. “We were one of the first companies to recognize and capitalize on the growing popularity of sports headwear in the baby-boom era. Being first to cater to the golf market was a huge advantage in those booming economic times. In the 1980s, it was estimated that Imperial sold 70 percent of all golf caps.”
Imperial hasn’t stopped, either. Just over a year ago, the company was acquired by Paramount Apparel International, which also owns the brands Oarsman, American Dry Goods, Midwest Graphics and Kid N’ Me. 
With Paramount Apparel International stepping in, rather than make drastic changes in an effort to get younger and hipper, the classic look Imperial had become known for -- its wheelhouse -- was simply redefined.
“Just before Paramount purchased Imperial, they had decided to take the brand in a whole new direction,” Shaffer explained. “Imperial had always been known as a very upscale, traditional country club hat brand. In 2012, their executives decided to move away from this niche and attempt to make Imperial more of a younger, modern, consumer hat brand. They changed the logo, website, catalog, etc. They even added a flat bill cap to the line.
“I don’t think it was much of a surprise that many of these changes were not so well received by our customers and sales reps (including the flat bill style which is being dropped from the line for 2014),” Shaffer added. “So when Paramount took over, we decided to reverse this whole new direction of the brand. Right about now, you will start to notice our move back to the old Imperial script logo and branding. Our website is being re-designed as we speak for re-launch in January. Our marketing collateral and product trim is reverting to more of a classic, timeless look. We believe this is the niche that has made the brand prosper for decades and where we need to be moving forward. It’s our heritage and luxurious imagery that holds all of our brand assets.” 
On a recent trip to Bandon Dunes, we noticed all the on-site pro shops were loaded with Imperial headwear. You can find a lot of those great hats selling now on the Bandon Dunes website too.
Imperial prides itself on the reputation of having the best fitting hats in the industry. To stress that point, the company’s new tagline is, “The Best Fit in Golf Since 1916.”
Imperial is also a brand that has a strong commitment to the PGA of America and its members.
“Through our support of PGA Golf Professionals with PGA Golf Retirement Plus program, Imperial is able to give back to the organization that has helped our company grow into what it is today,” Shaffer said. 
“Our supply chain – including domestic embroidery capabilities – is also second to none,” he said. “Imperial’s ability to turn orders around quickly and accurately in large volumes is extremely rare. It’s common for Imperial to replenish product in a PGA Tour merchandise tent on a daily basis. We do inventory at the end of the day and have new product delivered in time to stock the shelves before the gates open the next morning. Some of the largest licensed professional sports cap companies don’t even have the quick-turn capabilities we do today.”
To learn more about Imperial, click here.
You can also find Imperial on Twitter, @ImperialHats, on Facebook and on Instagram.
Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.